Sibford Scene Archive

Sibford Scene 011 February 1978

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Tinker, Tailor ...

The Sibfords in the 1880s boasted no less than thirty tradesmen and fifteen farmers, according to a Kelly‘s Directory of Oxfordshire of the period.

The entries make interesting reading, classifying the villages as “townships,” and giving populations of 431 for Sibford Gower and 267 for the Ferris. To serve these communities there was an impressive array of craftsmen: a stone mason, a marble mason, a shoe maker, a fly proprietor, two shop-keepers, a baker, two machinists, two butchers, a plumber, three carpenters, two carriers, three black-smiths, a tailor, a land-measurer, a hairdresser, a haulier, a beer retailer, a miller and Joseph Manning, who combined the arts of baker and carpenter. What size village would be needed to support such a variety of trades today?

Interestingly enough, the gentry who are listed seem mostly to have faded away, while many of the “commercial” families still flourish. Names like Lamb, Poulton, Sabin, Manning, Payne and Woolgrove are no strangers.

Communications were not neglected either. Three carriers to Banbury were operating, all on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. From the Gower, Reubin Sabin would take you to The Fox, or John Harris to The Plough, while from Sibford Ferris, Henry Lines ran a service to The Waggon and Horses.

The post arrived at 9 a.m. in the Ferris and 9.15 in the Gower – but only on weekdays – and was dispatched at 4 p.m. & 4.15. Hardly different from today – and-whatever happened to the Sunday post? In one respect we are much better off now: the nearest money order office was at Hook Norton!

A newcomer to Sibford

When I first came to Sibford I found that the village was much smaller than the previous village I lived in, which was in Lancashire.

I made some friends the day I moved in and the people are very friendly in the village.

I like to walk down to the duck pond to feed the ducks, and I like school because there is all exciting things to do, like woodwork, sewing and pictures.

Elizabeth Abbott (aged 8)

It will take a while, but we’re gradually building up this archive of complete copies of all editions of the Sibford Scene since its inception in 1977.

Above, we’ve copied out one or two items that may be of historical interest. To see the whole edition, click on the front-page image to download it as a pdf.